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Dr Jim MacPherson

MA, PhD; Programme Leader MLitt British Studies

Burghfield House
IV25 3HN

t: +44 (0)1847 889 623

Available to talk to the media about

  • 19th and 20th century British History
  • 19th and 20th century Scottish History
  • 19th and 20th century Empire History




I am a social and cultural historian of modern Britain and my research focuses in particular on Irish and Scottish migration, diaspora and the British Empire.

I arrived at the University of the Highlands and Islands Centre for History in November 2011, following academic posts at University College Dublin, the University of Bristol, Leeds Trinity and All Saints College and the University of Sunderland. I completed my PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London in 2004 (supervised by Professor Joanna Bourke), where I researched women’s contribution to debate about Irish identity through print and associational culture at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Current research

I am currently completing a major research project on Irish female associational culture in the diaspora, which focuses on women’s membership of the Orange Order in Scotland, England and Canada (to be published as a book by Manchester University press in 2015).

My new research on 'Highland Homecomings and the British Empire' will examine how key figures such as John Diefenbaker (Canadian Prime Minister, 1957-1963) and Peter Fraser (New Zealand Prime Minister, 1940-1949) returned to their roots in the far north of Scotland and what this tells us about the region's connection to the British Empire and the wider world. Future plans for research include investigating the role of Irish migrants in the early days of cricket in Australia.

Research groups / interest

I am the founder of the University of the Highlands and Islands Hub for the Study of British Identities.

Selected publications


  • Women and the Irish Nation: Gender, Culture and Irish Identity, 1890-1914 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
  • (Co-edited with Mary J. Hickman) Women and Irish Diaspora Identities: Theories, Concepts and New Perspectives (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014).
  • Women and the Orange Order: Female Activism, Diaspora and Empire in the British World, 1850-1940 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2015).


  • ‘The Emergence of Women’s Orange Lodges in Scotland: Gender, Ethnicity and Women’s Activism, 1909-1940’, Women’s History Review, 22:1 (2013), pp. 51-74.
  • ‘Migration and the Female Orange Order: Irish Protestant Identity, Diaspora and Empire in Scotland, 1909-1940’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 40:4 (2012), pp. 619-42.
  • ‘Personal narratives of family and ethnic identity: Orangewomen in Scotland and England, c. 1940-2010’, Immigrants and Minorities, 32:1 (2014, online early 2013), pp. 90-114.
  • ‘The myriad-minded woman: public and private worlds in the journalism of Susan L. Mitchell’, The Irish Review, 42 (2010), pp. 15-26.
  • (with Donald M. MacRaild) ‘Sisters of the brotherhood: female Orangeism on Tyneside in the late 19th and early 20th centuries’, Irish Historical Studies, 137 (2006), pp. 40-60.
  • ‘"Ireland begins in the home": women, Irish national identity and the domestic sphere in the Irish Homestead 1896-1912’, Éire-Ireland, 36, 3-4 (2001), pp. 131-52.

Essays in Edited Collections

'Irish Protestant Masculinities and Orangewomen in Scotland, Canada and England, 1890-1930', in Rebecca Barr, Sean Brady and Jane McGaughey (eds), Ireland and Masculinities in History: From the Sixteenth Century to the Present (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2016).

'Cultural Transmission, Irish Associational Culture and the "Marching' Tradition", in Eugenio Biagini and Mary Daly (eds), The Cambridge Social History of Modern Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2016).

‘Irish Protestant women and diaspora: Orangewomen in Canada during the twentieth century’, in D. A. J. MacPherson and Mary J. Hickman (eds), Women and Irish Diaspora Identities: Theories, Concepts and New Perspectives (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014).

‘The Fifteen Streets: representations of Irish identity in Catherine Cookson’s novels’, in Julie Taddeo (ed.), Catherine Cookson Country: On the Borders of Legitimacy, Fiction, and History (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 158-74.

‘“Exploited with fury on a thousand platforms”: women, unionism and the Ne Temere decree in Ireland, 1908-1913’, in Joan Allen and Richard Allen (eds), Faith of our Fathers. Six Centuries of Popular Belief in England, Ireland and Wales (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009), pp. 157-75.

'Domesticity and Irishness abroad: Irish women’s associational life in the north east, 1880-1914', in Shane Alcobia-Murphy (ed.), What rough beasts? Irish and Scottish Studies in the new millennium (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008), pp. 102-20.

(with David Renton), ‘Immigrant politics and north-east identity, 1907-1973’, in Adrian Green and A.F. Pollard (eds), Regional identities in north-east England, 1300-2000 (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2007), pp. 161-79.



Media training

Yes - a little